How to Make a Stiffened Fabric Flower Brooch

28 Oct 2009

Yup. I'm still messing around with fabric stiffener. Here's the latest result - a cool little dimensional fabric flower brooch. Suitable for crocheted hats, handbags, lapels, and scarves!

...And they're pretty easy to make.

If you like, you can download my template for the flower shapes here. Or you can design your own.

Then, use my templates or yours to cut flowers from three different fabrics.

Cut another set of three, so you can place them back to back. If you're using my templates, keep in mind that I made them a little off-center and casual. So you'll want to flip them over when you cut out the second set of flowers, so they match up.

Now, we need some forms. We'll be draping the moist fabric over these, so they dry in a more flowerlike shape. I'm using a measuring cup and two plastic containers. Raid your kitchen for bowls and mugs and things you can invert, and see what has the best size and shape.

You'll need to cover these forms with plastic wrap, so the fabric stiffener won't stick to them.

...And you may want to tape the edges of the plastic wrap down with some masking tape. You don't have to get the plastic wrap perfectly smooth, but it should be mostly smooth.

So, to stiffen, place the first fabric flower over the form, face down. (Was that a world record for most occurrences of the letter "F" in a sentence?)

Pour a little fabric stiffener into a dish. Use your fingers to spread a light coat over the fabric, making sure you cover every bit of it.

Then, place the second fabric flower on top of the first, face up, matching the edges as best you can.

And lastly, use your fingers again to spread another light coat of stiffener all over.

This might seem a little complicated - why don't you just dip the pieces into the stiffener and be done with it?

Well, after much testing, this method proved to stiffen the fabric nicely and add just a little sheen. It's important not to get too much stiffener on the fabric, as it tends to gum up when it dries.

I have a veritable wasteland of failed prototypes over here, if you'd ever like to discuss alternate methods and why they don't work as well. I could go on for days. :-)

Anyway. Leave your flowers to dry overnight. In the morning, carefully peel them away from the plastic.

Now for the fun part: use a round (not ridged) pencil to give the tips of the petals a nice curl.

Then you can glue the flowers together...

...And add a nice button center.

Glue a pin back to the back, and glue a little square of fabric over it, like this.

And you're all set! These would look nice and elegant made from all the same fabric. And you could easily to a beaded center instead of a button.

Happy Flower-Making!


Happy thanksgiving! I hope you have a wonderful time celebrating. Thanks so much for your reply.



1612 N. Hill Ave.

Pasadena, CA 91104

Great idea! I've just recently discoved fabric stiffener and am having a ball playing with it!

Great tutorial, I'll have to try this! =]

Ima Hafta try this fabric stiffening thing. Looks neat! Cool flower!

love, love.. LOVE those wonderful flowers Diane! Hey, I'm visiting NYC next Tuesday, for 1 week.. do you know any interesting craft supplies stores ore anything else that's cool to visit, craft related? miss you!!! xoxoxo (have a new boyfriend so I'm quite busy crafting him, so less time for crafting some new goodies to post!) :)

Ooh, butterflies are a great idea! You could use a folded piece of
cardboard for the form, so the butterfly dries in a "V" shape. Gotta
try this out - thanks!

...And when are you visiting Portland, is what I want to know?! :-)

Well, do not miss Purl:

Or, Mood:

Any other NYC-ers want to chime in on this one?

The fabric flower brooch really turned out to be fabulous! I am linking to it in my first anniversary post since it would be gorgeous in Christmas y fabrics!

But wait! Is that my missing plastic storage ware you are using for your form????

Oh, I sincerely hope not!! :-)

what is fabric stiffener and where can i buy some or can i make the stuff. Thank you so much for the inspiration i will have a good time with my two little girl making this pretty flower and lot of memories

Sigrid, you can find fabric stiffener at most big craft stores, like
Jo-Ann, Michael's, or AC Moore. I most often find it with the glues.
There are two main brands: Stiffy (
) and Aleene's (

In a pinch, you can also use liquid starch from the grocery store, but
it won't give your fabric the same sheen. Fabric stiffener is
basically a combination of starch and glue. You moisten the fabric
with it, and it hardens as it dries.

Hope that helps!

So cute! I'm thinking that this would be a nice way to use up scraps of fabric to make special bows for gifts, too. :) Thank you!

found you from One Pretty Thing, by the way.

Thanks for stopping by, Lauren - I love One Pretty Thing!


Thank you, Paula! I wish I could see hers!

i love your floral broches. My grandmother made something similar in the 60's. thanks for the inspiration. Happy holidays.

Thank you, Paula! I hope you do as well!

My granddaughters will love these, Ages 9 and 11. I look forward to your newsletter always, my friend in La. gets it also and she is a quilter.

Rosie in Ct.

Beautiful flower. I have just started experimenting with fabric brooch making and you have given me lots of inspiration. Thanks heaps. Sharon Clark. I live in a suburb called Otago Bay in Hobart Tasmania.

My granddaughters will love these, Ages 9 and 11. I look forward to your newsletter always, my friend in La. gets it also and she is a quilter.

Rosie in Ct.

Thank you so much, Sharon! I'm glad you liked the project, and how great to hear from you from the other side of the world!

See, that's why we love you, Diane--because you do all that pesky testing for us!

Too clever and sweet by half, as usual.

Hugs to you.

I used fabric stiffener a week or so ago to make butterfly embellishments to attach to my niece's Halloween costume hats. I had very lightweight fabrics that I was using (a synthetic China silk lining, tulle, and organza.) I followed the directions to dip the fabrics and as you can imagine, the results were less than stellar! The version you demonstrate is much better. I intend to try my hand at this again (this time with flowers.) I will dilute the stiffener since I tend to use very light weight fabric. Thank you so much for the step by step directions!

That is so cool! The stiffener and the fabrics you chose make it so playful. It reminds me of those vintage enamel brooches that I'm always stalking. This has to go on my gotta do list. I'll be linking as well. Thanks for the fun idea!

This is a clever idea, thanks for sharing.

VERY clever and such pretty results :) Glad I found your blog!

You did such a great job! - I retweeted.


Dear SisterDiane,
I shared your tutorial on how to make a stiffened brooch on my blog back in 2009 and it has been one of the most popular post to date! Thank you for sharing this wonderful project!
Love and best wishes
Crafty Linda xx

Thanks for sharing my link, Linda! I'm so glad your readers enjoyed the tutorial.

Thank a million ! Diane I really like your flowers ..l'll try for my dress....